DIY Gold Leaf Vase {How to Paint on Glass}…

How to paint on glass- gold leaf- gold leaf on glass


How to Paint on Glass- Gold Leaf- How to Gold Leaf Glass


One of my favorite crafting projects is painting on glass.  You name it, wine glasses, candle holders, vases and even old windows, I have painted them.  I just looked back through my archives and I can’t believe that I have never shared a glass painting project with you guys. If you’ve never done it before, it’s really easy and with the right paint and just a little prep work, it works like a charm every time.

These gold leaf striped vases are the perfect project for painting on glass.  I love all of the gold leaf home decor that is popular this fall, so I thought these vases would be a great way to add a little pop of gold into my home. I’ve been dreaming about these vases ever since I saw similar high-dollar striped ones at Neiman’s a few weeks ago. Instead of spending $100.00 on one vase, I made two of them for around $3.50 each just using gold paint and painters tape!

So let’s jump right into the instructions;

How to Paint on Glass- Gold Leaf- Gold Leaf on Glass- Instructions


Step 1)  You can do this project on any type of glass including a vase or a candle holder.  You will need to clean the glass first with rubbing alcohol and then dry it off.  This helps the paint stick better.

Step 2) You will need to tape off whatever stripe design that you would like.  It’s important to use either 3M Blue Tape or Frog Tape.  I did not use the right tape for one of my vases and I had some paint get under the tape.  I used Blue Tape on the other vase and it came out perfect!

On one vase I wanted to try a wide stripe, so I used the wider 3M Blue Tape:


How to Paint on Glass- Gold Leaf- Gold Leaf on Glass-


On this vase, I decided to try a narrower tape for my design:


How to Paint on Glass- Gold Leaf- Gold Leaf on Glass


Make sure that you run a credit card and your fingers over the tape really well to prevent any seepage. I did this several times just to be sure.

Step 3) Paint!!  I have tried probably every glass paint on the market and there is only one paint in my opinion that works far better than anything on glass and it’s Testors Model Enamel Paint that is sold in the model car/airplane aisle at all craft stores:


How to paint on glass- Testor's


I have painted with Testor’s enamels for more than 20 years and it is an absolutely amazing paint.  The best thing of all is that it comes in a tiny little jar and is only $1.99 and for glass projects, you do not need a lot of paint, so it’s the perfect amount.  Plus, the finish is always beautiful and once it’s completely dry, it will last forever and will never chip.  For this project, I used the gold, which looks identical to gold leaf after it dries. Testor’s has a huge color selection and because this paint is designed for model cars/airplanes, they have tons of metallic paints including brass, copper, silver and bronze, so if you want to do this project but with another finish, just use the Testor’s enamel color that you would like. It will work perfectly!

Make sure you shake the paint well because the metallic settles on the bottom.  I also poured a small amount into a small disposable cup to get my brush into the paint. I recommend using a narrow foam brush and for your first coat, just brush on (in one direction) a thin layer.  When you brush on your paint, it looks really translucent but don’t worry, it will thicken up on the second layer.  It’s important to allow your first layer to dry at least two hours.  Anytime you work with enamels, drying time in between layers is the key:


How to Paint on Glass- Gold Leaf- Gold Leaf on Glass



Step 4) Brush on your second layer and again, you don’t want to saturate the area, just enough paint to cover.  The second layer will really thicken up the gold but it will still be somewhat translucent.  I like a little translucent because that is the look of gold leaf.  If you want your gold completely solid, you will want to allow the second layer to dry another two hours and then add a 3rd layer.

How to Paint on Glass


Enamels take a full 24 hours to dry. You can remove the tape after about 2-3 hours but keep in mind that the paint needs at least a full 24 hours to dry solid, so you do not want to touch the part that has been painted. Look at how clean these lines are after I removed the tape:


How to Paint on Glass- Gold Leaf- Gold Leaf on Glass


How to Paint on Glass- Gold Leaf- How to Gold Leaf Glass


How to paint on glass- gold leaf- gold leaf on glass


This was such a fun project to do and super easy! Again, this is the perfect project for those who have never painted on glass and would like to give it a try.  You’ll love it! I think this may be my holiday teacher gifts this year but I think I will do candle holders.  Although, it would be fun to fill them with flowers and give to teachers. Hmmm….

Thanks for hanging out with me for a few minutes and check back on Friday for Friday Favorites! Have a wonderful rest of the week friends!


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43 Responses to DIY Gold Leaf Vase {How to Paint on Glass}…

  1. Patty says:

    I love what you did with the vases. I have never tried doing anything like this but you make it look so easy. Thanks for the tutorial! I pinned it.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Oh my dear I do love this! Stunning. Never thought of using the model paint.

  3. Jane says:

    I noticed you used what looked to be a regular masking tape on one of your vases. You said to use the 3M Blue tape or Frog tape. Did the masking tape work out just as well?

    Thank you!

    • Cyndy says:

      Hi Jane! The plain masking tape one did not do well and I had a lot of seepage. I had to clean lines up with a q-tip and thinner. I also was able to clean it the lines up by scratching the paint off with a toothpick. The 3M Blue Tape worked perfectly and Frog Tape should work as well. Thanks for stopping by Jane.

  4. What a fantastic tutorial for painting on glass! I’m in craft stores all the time and I never even walk down that aisle. I’ve painted vases… before but the different glass paints I’ve used are usually too tedious or take too many coats to get the finish I want. Thanx for the inspiration, I’ll have to give this a try with the holidays coming up. I’m always looking for little crafts to fill my booth for Christmas gifts. Thanx for sharing, Shelly

  5. I just love how your project turned out! Such a great idea to turn those boring run of the mill vases into something spectacular!



  6. Anne says:

    Cyndy I just love this..Beautiful. I hope you are well my friend. <3 u

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you sweet Anne! So good to see your note! All is well and I hope you’re doing great! Big hugs girl and thank’s for stopping by!!

  7. laura flores says:

    I have been painting wine glasses, beer stiens and mugs to sell for my Avon Walk. I noticed you didn’t put anything about baking the glass after the paint was applied. It would be wonderful if I didn’t have to bake anymore glasses! Thank you for posting your project!

  8. Thomasina says:

    These are gorgeous! I never thought of model paint either. Did you air dry them—or would baking help set the paint more? I have just discovered glass–and LOVE it!

  9. Judith Lee says:

    I love this project! If you paint on wine glasses, do they have to be hand washed or will they be dishwasher safe?

  10. Donna Spencer says:

    Great tips Cindy! Do you have a DIYtip for putting gold foil on bound book’s pages?
    I had a Bible bound and they forgot to put it on, but instead used the ugly splotch es.

  11. Carolyn says:

    You were featured on & I’m quite upset that I’ve never come across your site before! Why didn’t you tell me!! I will definitely be making a gold painted vase!

  12. Lane says:

    Hi! Awesome project! Just wondering if you have ever “baked” these to make the paint more sustainable. I know with regular glass paint its recommended but since this is model paint? Maybe? Or maybe something would go wrong? Just wondering so I dont make a glass fireball in my oven : )

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you Lane! No need to bake with the Testor’s enamels! I have been using Testor’s enamels for years on glass and they hold up perfectly. The key with this paint is allowing ample time (like days) for the enamels to fully harden. After that, you can even put them in the dishwasher! Thanks again for stopping by!

  13. laura anthony says:

    I have finally after years of dreaming about having my own paint studio was able to quit the rat race working world and start my paint projects. I ordered the testors enamel and asked them if their paint was dishwasher safe, they said “no” and should not be used on drinking glasses or other dishware as the enamel could be toxic if ingested! I hope not…now i’m confused, I have already ordered quite a bit of enamel paints,thinners, and brushes. what is your opinion please?

    • AnitaM says:

      With these paints, you paint on the outside of the glass as decoration, you don’t paint the inside where the paint would come in contact with liquids or anything edible.

  14. I testors enamel safe for dishes and glassware?

  15. Absolutely love this tutorial!! Is this enamel available at most craft stores? (Hobby Lobby? Michaels?) Excited to try this out!

  16. Valerie says:

    Thanks for the great info. I followed here through ‘What Paint Products Work the Best? {Friday Favorites}…’ Have been beginning to paint on wine glasses & realized my current products are not filling the bill. Glad I Googled you!

  17. Valerie says:

    Last time I used Testors was 40 yrs ago when I actually used them for models! I am looking forward to using them again…brings back good memories!

  18. Thank you SO much for the helpful info..I am starting to paint champagne flutes for weddings, and bought the testors brand because of the color selection. This is the first helpful site I’ve come across! And in my opinion, there really isn’t a good reason that high end, hand painted glassware needs to go in the dishwasher..Thanks! Rebecca

  19. mags says:

    are testors paints available in the uk please, we have a hobby craft (not a hobby lobby but it may be the same sort of store)

  20. Lindsay says:

    I just finished my second coat. How long did you wait to take the tape off since toys came out perfect ?

  21. Kelly says:

    This is a great idea but how well would these paints last outside? I know of some glass paints that you have to bake if there are going to be in outside in the elements. Please let me know. Thank you.

  22. teri says:


    This is great. Question, do you have any recommendations on how to work with getting straight lines using painter’s tape on rounded vases?


  23. Bev says:

    Does the finished item hold up well to washing or dishwasher?

  24. Nancy says:

    Can I use this paint to monogram wine glasses. I’m getting married and found some flutes I adore but wanted to put our names on them. Does it work well with stencils

  25. Tanga says:

    This is an amazing find. I have been looking for a paint to use on a mirror that I have antiqued. I’m interested in stenciling a pattern onto the face of the mirror. Do you think this paint would work if stenciled on? Thanks so much.

  26. Carolyn says:

    Thank you, Cyndy, for the advice about the type of paint to use. I’ve always had trouble finding the right “gold”, and will try this. I recently made some “oriental hardware” by gluing the flat wooden cutouts from the craft stores that I had painted gold onto a wooden TV cabinet. Real hardware like this, if you can even find it, would be very expensive.

  27. Leslie Soto says:

    Hi! I’m here from here #LIFESTYLE group board. I fell in love with this project as soon as I saw it. This would make such a pretty gift for someone or even look stunning on my kitchen table full of beautiful flowers. What a fun and cheap way to dress up an ordinary vase.

  28. Carrie says:

    How many vases (same size you pictured) would I be able to do with one bottle of tester paint?

  29. Heather Jones says:

    Cyndy your technique is simple but elegant. I would like to know if I can make a gold band around the upper rim of a drinking glass, where your mouth goes, would this paint be safe?

    • Cyndy says:

      Hi Heather! I don’t think it would be safe to use in area that would come in contact with the mouth. You could check Testor’s website but paints are designed for model airplanes and cars.

  30. Melissa says:

    Love it!! Is there a good method to getting the tape on in a straight line and spaced evenly????

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